Bowl Predictions – 2018-19
Last Game: Ohio State took care of business in the Big Ten championship game and dispatched Northwestern. Unfortunately the committee decided that a 12-1 Big Ten champion is not good enough to be in the playoffs. For the Buckeyes, this was the wrong year to lose even one game when 4 teams were unbeaten. Yet, a 12-1 record, a Big Ten Championship, a win over Michigan and this was a VERY successful season. As for our staff weekly predictions, it was another fun year. We added an ‘Upset Special’ feature each week this year, and it all come down to the final week. Hopefully, you enjoyed that addition as much as we enjoyed doing it.
Bowl Games: Each year there are more and more bowl games, and each year there are more bowl games than we really need. But as long as there is a CVS Pharmacy Bowl to be created, we may someday get every team that wins a conference game to a bowl game. In the spirit of not overdoing it, we usually just pick a handful of bowl games to predict. Since they continue to make the playoffs the Crimson Tide Invitational there is no need to bother with those games. So this year we are going to stick with just the Big Ten games. Last year the conference was 8-1 in bowl games and I don’t have to remind anyone what worthless team blew a huge 3rd quarter lead to be the only team to go down last season. Be sure to leave your feedback and predictions in the comment section and have some fun with this.
Buckeye Greats: As with the past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax back with us as a regular participant for the fourth straight year.
Here we go once again … our Big Ten Bowl Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
BOWL GAMES / STANDINGS
Big Ten 2 – 2
OSU Opponents 3 – 2
Pia Pete 3 – 1
Vaughn 3 – 1
Gregg 2 – 2
Josh 2 – 2
PJSBuck 2 – 2
John 1 – 3
Steven 1 – 3
Coach Rick 0 – 4
(6)Ohio State vs. (9)Washington
January 1st, 2019
Gregg: I have been saying almost every week since the Purdue loss that I was hoping the Buckeyes would win out, beat Michigan, win in Indy and go to the Rose Bowl. Well, here they are! If there was not enough motivation for this game, we get the added bonus that they can all “Win one for the Urban”. Washington has a solid team and is a worthy bowl opponent and was the favored team to win the Pac-12 in the preseason. Well they did win the conference but the 9-3 record tells more about how thin the quality is in the conference rather than how good the Huskies really are, at least in the national picture. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have a great team with elite talent but in the end, you can’t lose to Purdue if you want to go to the playoffs. I expect to see Ohio State continue what they started against Michigan and continued against Northwestern. Dwayne Haskins will leave after this season but he will finish with at least 400 yards passing in this version of the Rose Bowl. Washington will score but it won’t be enough. Ohio State 42 Washington 27
John: No way Washington beats Ohio State in Urban Meyers last game. However, Ohio State can beat themselves if they can’t control their emotions. OSU needs to keep focus and keep the mental gaffes to a minimum. The Huskies have a stout passing D, at least by Pac 12 standards, but Urban, Dey and Co. (sounds like a law firm) will have four weeks to game plan and will have the best passing quarterback in OSU history to implement it. Fun fact, if Haskins throws for 4 TD’s he will have more passing TD’s this season that Art Schlichter had…in his entire career. Bucks roll. Ohio State 42 Washington 24
Josh: I will include more with my game preview, but pick any storyline you want as motivation for the Buckeyes in this game. Washington won the PAC-12 with their defense, and behind veteran QB Jake Browning, but they struggled against elite competition. Ohio State has a lot to play for in this game, which will be the last game most likely for a lot of players and Urban Meyer. With this being in the Rose Bowl, under the lights, and extra incentive, I expect this one to not even be close, and challenge the Playoff Committee for leaving out the Buckeyes for the second straight year. Ohio State 42 – Washington 21.
PJSBuck: Well. Urban’s last game. There is no way Ohio State mails this in. I think/HOPE the boys smash Washington, but Washington is no patsy either. I expect a close game early then Dwayne, Campbell and our WR’s take over the game. Urban! Thank you for everything you have done for the Buckeyes. We love you and hate to see you go. I hope for good health for you and your family and know you have left a permanent mark on our program’s history. Ohio State by 24 or more.
Pia Pete: OSU over Washington
Coach Rick: Ohio State
Steven: After the performance against Michigan, and to a lesser extent Northwestern, wouldn’t you love the Bucks to have a shot against any of the teams in the Playoff? I’d certainly think the Bucks would match up well against Notre Dame, Clemson and Alabama. I’m not sure I’d want anything to do with Oklahoma, as I think they could take it all this year, defense be damned. Against the Huskies, I expect a game much like Michigan, but closer. Our defense needs to keep improving. If our offense just keeps at the level they exhibited over the past 2 games, I’m not sure Mike Leach’s team has the defense to stop our attack. Expect the Bucks to hold little back and score a bunch. OSU 49-31.
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Ohio State struggles to shut down Myles Gaskin, but prevail over the Washington Huskies 42-24
Final Score: Ohio State 0 Washington 0
QUICK LANE BOWL
Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech
December 26th, 2018
Gregg: I am not expecting a lot of passing for this one as both teams like to keep it on the ground. Many teams struggle to defend the type of offense that Georgia Tech runs but for this game, the Gophers are going to have 3 weeks to prepare. That should be enough to handle the Tech ground game and pull off the victory and get the Big Ten off to a great start this bowl season. Minnesota 24 Georgia Tech 17
John: With this being Tech’s coach Paul Johnson last game, look for the Yellow Jackets to be fired up and emotional. While I’d like to see the B1G start off bowl season with a “W”, look for Tech to pull this one out and sent Johnson out a winner. Georgia Tech 31 Minnesota 21
Josh: PJ Fleck had his contracted extended one more year, and he puts his team in a position to compete with almost every team. They are young, led by a freshman quarterback and running back duo, but they play sound defense, and should contain the triple option of Georgia Tech, who’s head coach is done after this game. This is really a toss up game, where it is hard to determine a winner, but I think Minnesota’s defense will keep the Yellow Jackets contained. Minnesota 17 – Georgia Tech 14
PJSBuck: Minnesota by 10, good game to record
Pia Pete: Minnesota over GT
Coach Rick: Georgia Tech
Steven: Tech has been up and down this year as have the Gophers. At least the Yellow Jackets are interesting to watch. Like Ohio State, Georgia Tech’s coach is stepping down. Unlike Ohio State, they do not have a ready made successor waiting in the wings. It may not mean anything for this game, but a coaching transition has to weigh on players minds. This should play to Minnesota’s favor. Tech is better on paper both on offense and defense. Can Minny keep up? This one could be close, but a bit of a shootout. Going with the Yellow Jackets winning one more for coach Johnson 38-35.
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Minnesota beats Georgia Tech 31-20
Final Score: Minnesota 34 Georgia Tech 10
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL
Wisconsin vs. Miami
December 27th, 2018
Gregg: These two teams were ranked top 8 in the preseason polls, Wisconsin actually had one first place vote. By the end of the season though, they both find themselves around the .500 mark in conference play and unranked. The future will tell us if this is the direction of Badger football. They have enjoyed a very nice run at the top of the heap for about 20 years now are they going to find more struggles in the years to come. Miami on the other hand has not been a factor since they lost to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. This game is of course a re-match of last year’s bowl which Wisconsin won on Miami’s home field. The venue is different but he results should be the same. Hurricanes cannot score enough to keep up with the Badgers, expect Jonathon Taylor to have a big game and lead the Big Ten to a bowl win. Wisconsin 31 Miami 13
John: Both teams have pretty much stunk it up through large of the stretches of the season, which is how two teams that played each other in a New Years Six Bowl last year end up playing each other again two days after Christmas in a nothing bowl. As a fan of northern football, here’s to hopping for a nice late December snow with game time temps in the 20’s. Wisconsin 30 Miami 17
Josh: Wisconsin had a very underwhelming year, missing the Big Ten Championship game, and having 4 losses on the season. Jonathan Taylor still managed to be an all star back, and should challenge an improved Miami defense. However, the Hurricanes struggled on the offensive side of the ball. This will be a rematch of last years game, but I think with the cold weather in New York, it will favor the conditions for the Badgers, and will win comfortably with the ground game. Wisconsin 31 – Miami 14
PJSBuck: Miami – can’t stand Wisky
Pia Pete: Miami over Wisky
Coach Rick: Miami
Steven: Wisky underachieved mightily this year. Much the same could be said for the Hurricanes. The tepid meter on this one is off the charts, kids. Both teams aren’t especially good. Wisconsin does have Jonathan Taylor Touchdown who makes the game at least worth watching for a little bit. Most of the ACC is poo and Miami’s offense is offensive. Statistically, the Hurricane Defense is 2nd in the country. I’m just not sure how much real that is or those numbers are improved by the poor competition. I’ll be a Big Ten homer on this one: Wisky 28-21. Message to coach Chryst – Steal the turnover chain and throw it in the ocean. It is one of the most annoying college football traditions, right up there with the lion’s roar in Happy Valley.
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Wisconsin outruns Miami 28-21
Final Score: Wisconsin 35 Miami 3
FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL
Purdue vs. Auburn
December 27th, 2018
Gregg: In what may be one of the longest named bowl games, I am not sure Purdue matches up very well with Auburn. But I do think the better coach will be on the Boilermaker sideline. The Big Ten is better with Jeff Brohm in the ranks. Auburn did not show up for their bowl game last year, I hope they don’t try to make up for that against Purdue this year. Moore has a big game and helps keep the B1G in the winning column. Purdue 24 Auburn 22
John: The coaching carousel hit Purdue this year as well, but Jeff Brohm decided to spurn his alma mater and stay at Purdue. In the first of the Big Ten/SEC matchup of the bowl season, look for a fired up Purdue to reward their coach for staying with a win. Purdue 31 Auburn 27
Josh: Auburn had a good win to start the year, but really never found an identity. They struggled against conference competition, but still managed to have a decent record. Purdue is bowl eligible, and has one of the best wins of the season, all behind Jeff Brohm’s offensive mind. I think the Boilermakers will be too much for the Tigers, and Rondale Moore will make himself a Heisman favorite for next year. Purdue 38 – Auburn 21
PJSBuck: I am a believer – Purdue by 10
Pia Pete: Auburn over Purdue
Coach Rick: Purdue
Steven: This could be the game of the bowl season in which to gauge the Big Ten vs. the vaunted SEC. We’ve seen that Purdue can put it together. Can they roll out the can of whuppin’ that they brought down on Ohio State? Assuredly the Tigers will be watching a lot of that OSU tape to prepare for the Boilers and uber receiver Rondale Moore. The Boilers should have the edge on offense, but they will need their defense to show up. The smart money is on Auburn. I’m not a very smart man, Homer. Purdue 34-31
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Purdue surprises SEC speed with a little speed of their own 31-17
Final Score: Auburn 63 Purdue 14
CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
(7)Michigan vs. (10)Florida
December 29th, 2018
Gregg: Michigan is going to be down some players but they should have enough left to beat an overrated SEC team. All these Wolverines are vowing to come back to beat Ohio State, I would like to think they would start their new ‘Redemption Tour’ with this bowl game. I am just concerned that Ohio State left a blueprint for other teams to follow to challenge the Michigan Defense. Both teams score in this one but Florida doesn’t score enough. Michigan 45 Florida 39
John: Two fan bases united by their mutual hatred of Urban Meyer. As much as I’d hate to pick Michigan to win the Toilet Bowl, much less a New Years Six Bowl, the Gators suck swamp gas. I’ll be pulling for UF (conference pride is an SEC thing, and they can keep it) but I think UM will get the win. Michigan 28 Florida 21
Josh: If you are a fan of traditional offenses and defense, this is the game for you. The seniors for Michigan are 0-4 against Ohio State, were the only Big Tem team last year to lose a bowl game, and lost to 2 of the top 6 teams in the country on the road. They will be looking to send off their season in a positive note. Mullens was able to turn Florida around this year into a top 10 team, however they had a very favorable schedule. Michigan will win this one with ball control, and will contain the Gator offense. Michigan 21 – Florida 14
Pia Pete: FLA over UM
Coach Rick: Michigan
Steven: Somehow I have faith that coach Harbaugh will get his team back on track after the beatdown thet took in the ‘Shoe. Florida is the most overrated team in the country and is only ranked as high as they are due to the supposed strength of the SEC. Everyone knows the SEC East is garbage, being on par with the Big Ten West. There is nothing I’d like to see more than all the rage the Wolverines can muster to be directed at the Gators. They’ve had good luck against Florida, so we’ll call it UM 31-27.
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Michigan is garbage and you can’t depend on them. They lose to Florida 31-28
Final Score: Florida 41 Michigan 15
Michigan State vs. Oregon
December 31st, 2018
Gregg: Michigan State has had an interesting season. Most of the preseason magazines had the Spartans cast as one of the four players in the Big Ten East that was going to make the division among the best in the country. Then they struggled in their opening game against Utah State (before every found out USU was actually good) and lost to Arizona State. After that they were never really in the conversation nor did they deserve to be. A decent defense but no offense and that does not win games these days. In their last four games, they only scored 26 points total. Oregon did not fair much better as they too were considered a top contender in the Pac-12 but never seemed to recover from an inexplicable collapse against Stanford in week #4. But they were at least trending in the right direction to end the season so I will go with the Ducks in this one. Dantonio, you need a quarterback! Oregon 35 Michigan State 13
John: Both these teams were somewhat flakey this season. Let’s be honest, Sparty’s offense stinks like last week’s fish, but they do have a decent D. Oregon has shown through the years that when faced with a stout, physical defense they fold and fly south like a flock of, well, ducks. Michigan State 24 Oregon 17
Josh: This is going to be an ugly game. Michigan State lost any resemblance of an offense after the Michigan game, and Oregon has a good offense. I think this one will be low scoring, but Sparty won’t be able to keep up with the scoring. Oregon 24 – Michigan State 9
PJSBuck: Oregon – maybe Sparty is healed in which case it will be a closer game, otherwise Ducks by 17.
Pia Pete: Oregon over MSU
Coach Rick: Oregon
Steven: It is a darn near miracle the feat that Mark Dantonio pulled off this year, bringing the team back from a rough 2017 where there was a lot of internal discord. Dino doesn’t get enough respect outside of the league. Hopefully a good showing against a premier offense from the West coast can change that. Unfortunately, Sparty’s offense is dreadful, (117 out of 130). They do sport a top 15 defense, but I’m not sure if it will be enough to down the Ducks. Hate to go against Dino, but look for Oregon to outshoot Sparty, 37-28.
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Michigan State fails to muster up enough offense and lose to Oregon 35-14
Final Score: Oregon 0 Michigan State 0
SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION HOLIDAY BOWL
(22)Northwestern vs. (17)Utah
December 31st, 2018
Gregg: This should be a very interesting game. Both teams won their division but lost in their championship games. So this is basically the loser’s bracket of the Rose Bowl? Both teams play at a high level but I think Northwestern will want this a bit more than Utah. This will not be the popular pick but I will go with Pat and the boys to come out on top. Northwestern 24 Utah 17
John: I like this match up. Two nontraditional teams from the Big Ten/Pac 12 match up on New Year Eve. I like NU’s tenacity, but I think Utah is too much for them to handle. I’ll be pulling for NU because I like what Pat Fitzgerald is doing there, but I’m picking the Ute’s Utah 34 Northwestern 31.
Josh: The losers of the Big Ten and Pac 12 championship games play each other in what will be a defensive battle. Both teams play with similar philosophies, and it will come down to who controls the ball the longest. I think Utah will win this game, keeping with the trend that they lost to every nonconference opponent on their schedule, but should keep it close. Utah 24 – Northwestern 21
PJSBuck: Should be another good game to record. Going with Wildcats by 7
Pia Pete: NW over Utah
Coach Rick: Northwestern
Steven: Utes and Wildcats… could there more under the radar teams who are actually good (not great by any means though) this year? Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcat team overcame some really low points in the beginning of the season to end up champions of the B1G West. With the loss of RB Jeremy Larkin, Wildcat QB Clayton Thorson will have to play out of his mind to upend he Utes who boast a top 15 defense. There is still work to do in Evanston but this team should be poised for an excellent 2019. I like Northwestern but the team just seems to be a year away. Not a confident pick at all, as this one really could go either way: Utes 29-21.
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Northwestern beats Utah 28-24
Final Score: Northwestern 0 Utah 0
Iowa vs. (18)Mississippi State
January 1st, 2019
Gregg: I will be rooting for the Big Ten but think the SEC has the bigger dog in the fight for this one. Not sure how Iowa even earned this match-up. Mississippi 31 Iowa 21
John: This could be a tough match-up for the Hawkeyes. Really the only reason to watch this one is because it the first one on New Years Day. As it is, I’ll only watch the first quarter of so before switching over to the next game on our list. Iowa in the upset. Iowa 24 Mississippi State 23
Josh: Mississippi State has one of the better defense in the country, and part of that might be due to a lack of explosive offenses in the SEC. Iowa hummed along to a decent season, and were in competition to play in the Big Ten Championship game before losing to Penn State. Iowa has some of the best tight ends in the country to challenge the Bulldog linebackers, and Ferentz seems to find a way to win these games. Iowa 24 – Mississippi State 21.
Dr. Mark: xx
PJSBuck: Ho – hum. I will go will Iowa because I am a Big Ten Homer.
Pia Pete: Iowa over MSU
Coach Rick: Mississippi State
Steven: How quiet was Iowa this year, and how did they luck into a New Year’s bowl? They had a hard luck stretch late in the year where they lost 3 games in a row by an average of 4 points per game, so they were in the mix. They just could not get it together and have no signature win. Mississippi State beat both Auburn and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs are a balanced team that should be able to move the ball on the Hawkeyes. Herky will need to establish a run game to compete effectively, as they rely heavily on QB Nate Stanley for the bulk of their offensive production. This one should be tight but the Bulldogs are just a hair better in this one. MSU 27-21
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Iowa finds a way to beat Mississippi State without tight ends 31-21
Final Score: Iowa 0 Mississippi State 0
VRBO CITRUS BOWL
(12)Penn State vs. (14)Kentucky
January 1st, 2019
Gregg: Coach Franklin, you do not have an ELITE team, and many weeks down the stretch you only had a good team. It is time for you to be great again and take care of business. I have felt the Wildcats have been the most over-rated SEC school this season and that is saying a lot considering how favorable the rankings are for the SEC East teams. So Lions, prove me right and go take care of business in the bowl game and be considered the number 2 team in the B1G East going into next season. Nittany Lions 34 Mildcats 17
John: Then again, maybe I’ll spend the early afternoon flipping back and forth between this and Iowa/MSU because this game really should not be close. Of course that assumes that the Lions can get fired up to play a basketball school in the Vacation Rent By Owner Bowl. I’ve watch Kentucky a couple of times this year, and while they’ve had some nice wins it’s more a product of the SEC East being down (despite what Capt. Frosted Tips and the Mothership says). However I don’t expect PSU to care about a trip to Orlando, so look for this one to be close. Penn State 28 Kentucky 24
Josh: This will be Trace McSorley’s last game as a Nittany Lion, and really the last of the major players for James Franklin. Kentucky was a Cinderella story this year, and looked to challenge Georgia for the SEC East, but came up short in key games. I think Penn State will be able to handle Kentucky and McSorley leave his legacy as a winner. Penn State 28 – Kentucky 17.
PJSBuck: Going with Kentucky on this because I can’t stand PSU fans.
Pia Pete: PSU over Kentucky
Coach Rick: Penn State
Steven: Penn State is one of the most talented teams in the country, but have again come up short of coach Franklin’s desire to move to “elite”. They get a pretty favorable bowl match-up in the Wildcats who can become pretty one-dimensional relying on running back Benny Snell to carry the day. Expect the Nittany Lions to take Snell away and force QB Terry Wilson to beat them. On the other side, if Penn State don’t get too cute, they can ride QB Trace McSorley’s arm and legs to a win. Liking the Lions in this one. PSU 33-21
Vaughn Broadnax (1980-83): Penn State comes to life to beat Kentucky 42-28
Final Score: Penn State 0 Kentucky 0